The Hyper III's shape provided too little lift to land without some type of deployable wing. The single free flight was made using a simulated one-piece pivot wing, which was attached to the upper surface of the fuselage. This used a wing kit from an HP-11 sailplane, which was assembled by Daniel Garrabrant (shown in the photo). Another possible wing was the Flexible Princeton Sailwing. The piloted Hyper III flights were to be made using an SA-16B Albatross seaplane as the drop aircraft. The Hyper III would be carried under the SA-16B's wing on a drop-tank rack. Flight Research Center Director Paul Bikle asked NASA Headquarters for permission to exchange the Center's C-47 for the SA-16. Headquarters turned down this request, effectively ending the possibility of Hyper III flights with a pilot on board. The Flight Research Center (FRC--as Dryden was named from 1959 until 1976) already had experience with testing small-scale aircraft using model-airplane techniques, but the first true remotely piloted research vehicle was the Hyper III, which flew only once in December 1969. At that time, the Center was engaged in flight research with a variety of reentry shapes called lifting bodies, and there was a desire both to expand the flight research experience with maneuverable reentry vehicles, including a high-performance, variable-geometry craft, and to investigate a remotely piloted flight research technique that made maximum use of a research pilot's skill and experience by placing him "in the loop" as if he were in the cockpit. (There have been, as yet, no female research pilots assigned to Dryden.) The Hyper III as originally conceived was a stiletto-shaped lifting body that had resulted from a study at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. It was one of a number of hypersonic, cross-range reentry vehicles studied at Langley. (Hypersonic means Mach 5--five times the speed of sound--or faster; cross-range means able to fly a considerable distance to the left or right of the initial reentry path.) The FRC added a small, deployable, skewed wing to compensate for the shape's extremely low glide ratio. Shop personnel built the 32-foot-long Hyper III and covered its tubular frame with dacron, aluminum, and fiberglass, for about $6,500. Hyper III employed the same "8-ball" attitude indicator developed for control-room use when flying the X-15, two model-airplane receivers to command the vehicle's hydraulic controls, and a telemetry system (surplus from the X-15 program) to transmit 12 channels of data to the ground not only for display and control but for data analysis. Dropped from a helicopter at 10,000 feet, Hyper III flew under the control of research pilot Milt Thompson to a near landing using instruments for control. When the vehicle was close to the ground, he handed the vehicle off to experienced model pilot Dick Fischer for a visual landing using standard controls. The flight demonstrated the feasibility of remotely piloting research vehicles and, among other things, that control of the vehicle in roll was much better than predicted and that the vehicle had a much lower lift-to-drag ratio than predicted (a maximum of 4.0 rather than 5.0). Pilot Milt Thompson exhibited some suprising reactions during the Hyper III flight; he behaved as if he were in the cockpit of an actual research aircraft.""I was really stimulated emotionally and physically in exactly the same manner that I have been during actual first flights." "Flying the Hyper III from a ground cockpit was just as dramatic as an actual flight in any of the other vehicles....responsibility rather than fear of personal safety is the real emotional driver. I have never come out of a simulator emtionally and physically tired as is often the case after a test flight in a research aircraft. I was emotionally and physically tired after a 3-minute flight of the Hyper III."